Headquarters might be where most of the action is, but a lot of what goes on in your mind during a decluttering project involve the hard work of Mind Workers like Forgetters Paula and Bob, Subconscious Guards FrankandDaveand Cop Jake.
So which Mind Workers trip us up when we're fighting a battle with clutter? Why do we find it difficult to part with our stuff and organize our spaces?
Here's Part 1 of "Inside Out, The Decluttering Version". Introducing...
1. Pro-Choice Charlie
[Character Information: causes choice-supportive bias. Loves having a gazillion choices ala Baskin Robbins, even if the choices are awful (green tea with cheese, anyone?). Is the reason why you dither at the milk aisle at NTUC.]
Pro-Choice Charlie loves options. He has the bad-crazies when there's only 2 types of bread in the supermarket: white and whole-grain. He loves the company of your 30 loud-and-loutish Hawaiian shirts in every possible shade of pink, and calls them "family". Pro-Choice Charlie prefers the musky steaminess of a crowd to the quiet chosen few.
Just last month, you stole a peek at Pro-Choice Charlie’s secretstash, and to your horror, found a pair of pointy-toe dress shoes hot off Bally's rack circa 2010. It's terribly stiff and uncomfortable, but each time you head for the bin, Pro-Choice Charlie turns you around, reminding you that it'll turn soft and snug in time (or you could always pair it with thick socks).
Having worn it a grand total of two times in five years, you felt ridiculous hanging on to a future of bleeding toes and torn skin. So you gave it a quick toss when Pro-Choice Charlie wasn’t looking.
He sulked for 2 days.
2. Outcome Olivia
[Character Information: Causes outcome bias. Judges decisions based on the outcome rather than how the outcome was arrived at. Firm advocate of the "organised mess theorem". Is the reason why you find gambling in Vegas a smart decision after winning 10 bucks on your first round.]
Outcome Olivia believes in the beauty of results and doesn’t bother herself with the frivolity of clutter. She knows where everything is and doesn't let any mess stop her. She's the Google to your "Where is my....." questions.
That screwdriver you swore you saw? “It’s under that pile of sweatshirts!” she gestures a manicured finger at a dark pile of fur you thought was a cat.
That document you need? "Just let me move a couple of books... And this box of trinkets from my Paris trip 2 years ago... Ok, not this file... Aha! Here you go!” waving a greying folder as you don on a N95 mask to avoid the dust storm.
“Nonsense!” Outcome Olivia dismisses your every attempt to tidy up. “Why waste time tidying up when I can already find everything I need?", she hisses incredulously.
3. Innovative Ivy
[Character Information: Causes pro-innovation bias. Favourites a dozen Pinterest boards to find new ways of organising. A total upcycling convert. Tends to overestimate usefulness of items and underestimate limitations in time and energy. Takes weekly pilgrimage to the flea market.]
Innovative Ivy likes to work with her hands. She scours the internet for lifehacks and tries out every organising and home-decor tip known to the world-wide-web.
She tells you that the growing stack shoe boxes in the corner are going to be beautifully wrapped someday. Frayed blouses and skirts? "Oh, they'll make pretty quilts!". And the random junk piling up on the kitchen counter? "Here, shove them in this pretty box!"
"Hiding them from sight isn't the solution!", you cry out, exasperated. But it's unlikely Innovative Ivy heard you. She's already stepped out to cart home the old drawers someone discarded on the kerb. “A little sandpaper and paint and I'll have a free vintage book case!” she proclaims gleefuly, like a fairy godmother ready to wave her wand.